Schwalbe Kojak Tires Where to Buy in USA

I asked myself this question several times over the past 2 months as I did search after search online for Schwalbe Kojak Tires that are actually available and in stock. And while I found a few wire bead versions in the size I was looking for 26 x 2.0 the folding version seems to be very elusive. Shchwalbe North America almost always shows them as “Out”.

I think the availability problem is mostly Schwalbe and their limited productions of this model coupled with dealers not wanting to carry these tires as they are more expensive and slow to sell in local bike shops. From the owners that I talked to about Schwalbe most had a negative impression – not of the product – but of the company. Limited availability and hard to make a profit from the Kojak is what I took away from these conversations.

Anyways I finally found one at Amazon and bought it. It was listed as 1 in stock, order soon or whatever language Amazon uses to try and entice you to buy RIGHT NOW. As the product is shipping direct from Amazon I can only hope it arrives okay and I do not have to deal with their customer service people. Amazon is great at taking your money, has good prices, and is pretty good about delivery… you just have to hope that nothing goes wrong because there customer service is less than desirable.

So I should be the proud new owner of a Schwalbe Kojak Folding 26″ tire soon. I’ll review it when I get a few miles on it. At 460 grams I’m hoping I won’t notice the extra weight as much as I’ll notice a smoother and more comfortable ride. I recently purchased a new wheel that is about 240 grams lighter than my existing wheel to compensate for the additional weight in terms of rotational mass.

I would have happily purchased a similar Continental Tire, except they don’t make one! Come on Schwalbe, end users like your tires… get them across the pond and in the dealers hands. The Schwalbe Kojak seems to be very popular for those who can find them. Ordering tires from the UK is an expensive proposition… but I did find a few in stock at some UK Based Online Shops.

Schwalbe Kojak 559 x 50 (26×2) Folding Tire Review

The Schwalbe Kojak Folding 26 x 2.0  bicycle tire (Photos at end of article) has been on my mind for quite some time as the best replacement choice for the rear of my Recumbent Mid Racer in order to smooth out the ride while at the same time keeping the weight down and the rolling resistance up. Unfortunately the folding version of the Schwalbe Kojak can sometimes be hard to find in the USA and it is frequently listed as out of stock on the Schwalbe Site. So I was pretty happy to find one in stock at Amazon. What I wasn’t happy to find was the price! I paid almost $50, but that did include shipping. So all in all not bad and a pretty good price on the Kojak considering what most bike shops charge and none of them ship free.

Where to Buy Kojak’s in the USA

Since I ordered my tire just 3 weeks ago when Amazon said there was only 1 in stock, they have now been restocked and are showing 3 in stock. And the new price is now $42.48! Blah, isn’t that the way it goes; as soon as you buy something you find it very soon after at a much lower price? It’s just the way it is I suppose. In any case the Schwalbe Kojak in my opinion is well worth the money because there is no other completely slick folding tire in it’s size that even exists.

Here is the “trick” you need to know when buying anything including bicycle components from Amazon.  And I have learned this one the hard way.  Amazon sells products and they promote other people’s products. This means that the exact same item on Amazon can be sold for different prices!  This also means that if there is a problem you could end up dealing with Amazon or a 3rd party.  When you are searching for products make sure you search the ENTIRE AMAZON site.  This is easy to do.  In the search bar at the top select “All Departments”.  Then you can refine your search from there.  Usually bike parts are in the Sports & Outdoors department.

Amazon Links for Schwalbe Kojak Tire:

Kojak Folding :  Schwalbe Kojak Folding Bead Tire (26X2.0)

Kojak All Tire Sizes: All Sizes of Schwalbe Kojak Tires

You may also want to try AE Bike in Michigan as they carry some Schwalbes and have a good track record for delivery.  I bought my Durano’s there… they did not have the Kojak’s when I checked.

Kojak Size and Weight

The folding version of the Kojak is 460 grams in the 26 x 2.0 size, and comparing that to my existing Continental Sport contact that is only 200 grams more for a much larger tire (The height of the rear of the bike rose about 1.5″! I intentionally wanted the rise because I have recently changed out the front fork to one that is “suspension corrected” to match the height of the suspension fork it replaced (Dropped about 2 lbs off the bike weight). So with the fork swap and the new tire the ride is about the same level. Would a slight rise in the rear vs the front without a fork swap make a difference? I don’t know. Every time you change something on your bike it changes the performance or geometry slightly. The handling of bicycle with the new fork has drastically improved the handling of the bicycle for the better! Very happy about that. I’ll have to write about that in another review. I also need to do a review on the new wheel build and the Velocity Race Hub. Never seems to be enough time to do everything.

Back on point. The Schwalbe Kojak feels very well made. There are no rough edges and the mounting was surprisingly easy… didn’t have to break out the Tire Bead Jack for this one… just a little pressure on the thumbs and it mounted right up. This might have something to do with the Mavic 717’s that I am now running front and back, I don’t know for sure, but in any case it was very easy to mount and very secure when inflated.

Kojak Ride Quality

The ride of the Kojak vs the 1.4″ Conti it replaces is surprisingly similar in terms of rolling resistance. In fact the Kojak may actually roll a little bit better from a purely subjective standpoint (we all like to feel good about what we buy right?). I chose to run the tire at Max Pressure to start to see how it feels. Max pressure is 85 PSI. Recommended pressure is 70 PSI. At 85 PSI the tire does feel a bit STIFF, while still quick, it was not quite what I was going for. So I reduced the pressure to 70 PSI and the ride smoothed out noticeably.

I barely feel the difference in rotation spin up (Acceleration) vs the Conti but that is also likely due to the new wheel I had built up that dropped the weight over the existing wheel by about 10 ounces! So even after the additional 200 grams the new wheel with the Schwalbe Kojak mounted is lighter. And the Velocity Race hub spins very smoothly.

Although I’m not the guy who tries to maximize corners at high speed, this tire does corner much better than the previous tires I’ve run – the Specialized Fatboy, Schwalbe Durano, and Continental Sport contact – on this bicycle.  I also don’t worry so much about hitting a small rock now when I corner.  I have had the back end slide out from under me with small stones in the past.

Hopefully some of what I’ve written will be helpful in your own decision making choice for your own recumbent bike. I’m hoping to build an electric upright based on a Trek Pure or a Electra Townie and for that bike I’ll run the Schwalbe Big Apples… thought about doing that on this bike but even with a light skin (Which they might not be making any more) Big Apple I just couldn’t bring myself to risk the additional weight. I’m very happy with the Kojak and I think most people will be as well.

I find it ironic that people will spend a couple thousand on a nice Recumbent then run $15 tires. Tires make so much difference. Do yourself a favor and find the best folding tire you can for the type of riding you do. Less weight can really make a difference. When the Continental Sport Contact wears out on the front I may consider replacing it with a Kojak 1.3, but I have a whole lot of pedaling to do between now and then!

Kojak Tire Pictures

If you click the pictures they will enlarge

Foldign version of the Schwalbe Kojak Bicycle Tire

Brand New Schwalbe Kojak Folding Version Tire

Schwalbe Kojak 559 50mm mounted on wheel

Schwalbe Kojak Mounted on New Bike Wheel

Plano Toolbox for Bike Tools

Note: Scroll down to see photos of the Plano Toolbox after the article below.

For some time I’ve wanted to get a good toolbox for my growing collection of bicycle tools. Years ago I purchased a Plano Tackle box that I’ve used as a toolbox for household repairs. I really like the design and size, unfortunately that model has been discontinued. So after a bit of shopping and reading a lot of online reviews I decided to pull the trigger on a new Plano Model 823 toolbox. I chose to purchase this Plano toolbox at Amazon because of the free super saver shipping and no sale tax. My delivered cost was $32.99 which isn’t too bad.

For me this is the perfect toolbox for my bicycle tools. The toolbox has 3 compartments for tools and two trays in the top lid for small items like screws, tube stem caps, etc.

I first loaded up the very deep bottom tray with my cleaners, extra tubes, spare cassette, lithium grease, and other large items. In the middle tray I put my bottom bracket tools, cassette remover, and similar larger items. In the top tray I placed my allen wrenches, third hand tool and smaller parts. Then of course the little items in the clear plastic top containers. Bottom line is this is a beast of a box and everything now fits! Good bye old plastic shoe boxes and bins, hello bike toolbox beast!

If you are looking for a great way to keep your tools together this is it. This is made of a rugged plastic that looks like it will last for years… my other Plano box has served me very well.

You should note that the latches are on the sides of the box. The lid and trays lift completely out of the box… I really like this I suppose others will not. The advantage is you have full access to all compartments and no real mechanical parts to break down. My only complaint if there is one is the top small parts trays do not click in very tight so that if you load them up and were to tip the box at an angle I suppose it’s possible you could knock them off the top of the box. I doubt that will happen though because I can think of no reason to carry the box at an angle. The toolbox is a dark shade of gray and I like the color.

Pictures of the Plano Toolbox I bought for My Bike Tools:

Plano Contractor Grade Toolbox Top View with area for small bike parts

Plano Toolbox Top View

Plano Contractor Grade Model 823-003

Plano Contractor Grade Toolbox Information Sticker

Bike toolbox depth of bottom container area

View of Toolbox Depth Perfect for large parts, cleaners, etc.

Where to buy Schwalbe Tires in USA for Best Price

Schwalbe Tires – Where to get them for the Best Price

Yes this is a Review and not just some off the wall sales pitch based on nothing.  It’s hard to find Schwalbe at a discount price in the United States.  In fact it’s hard to find certain models at all!

I’ve purchased Schwalbe tires from AE Bike, Amazon, Schwalbe Northwest and CycloCamping.

Cyclocamping – never heard of them until I did an internet search for a specific model (The new HS430 Big Apples).  They had the best price so I gave them a shot and everything worked out great.  Quick shipping and the best price at the time.  Be sure to check this site a lot if you like Schwalbe tires because they have sales on a frequent basis.  Definitely recommend them.

AE Bike – I like these guys, but they are basically just drop shippers and they have access to a limited amount of product.  Worth a look though to compare prices.

Schwalbe North America – Guaranteed to have the highest every day price.  But hey they have an exclusive on distribution in the United States, so if they don’t have it no one else is likely to have it either (Unless it’s old Stock).  The key to buying from Schwalbe USA direct is to make a list then wait for their Black Friday sale once per year.

Amazon – as much as I want to hate them, there are just times when they have what I want at a price I’m willing to pay.  But be very careful with Amazon.  Often the description and part number are not the same.  They will sometimes ship old stock especially if it’s from a 3rd party.  I don’t ever buy anything off of Amazon that they do not sell themselves.  Just too much hassle with returns with a lot of the no name vendors.  I usually use Amazon to check reviews of what other people are saying.  I didn’t link them up here because who doesn’t know how to find Amazon?

What is the most important part of your Bicycle?  The same as your car – it’s your tires.  Tires are what keeps you stuck to the ground in corners and keep you rolling over not so perfect terrain.  Yet there are still those who just don’t really understand the value in running a quality tire.  Why purchase a $4,000 bicycle then run cheap tires?  It simply makes no sense.

I’ve run just about every name brand of Tire on my bicycles over the years from Specialized, Continental, Geax, and Schwalbe and I’ve settled in now as a lifetime customer of Schwalbe.  My favorite tire is the Big Apple, but I have a Marathon “Green” on my electric bicycle.  I’ve also run the Durano and Kojak which are both very good tires in their own right.

So if you are looking for the best deal on Schwalbe in the USA give these places a try.  If you are looking for a great comfortable all around commuter it’s almost impossible to go wrong with the Big Apple!

Announcement: Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack

Take the Pain out of Mounting Bicycle Tires with the Tire Bead Jack

The Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack is an amazingly simple idea put into practice. This is one of those tools that you use once then wonder why you did buy it years ago! I was really amazed at just how easy tires are to mount with the Tire Bead Jack.

Get one and save your thumbs. All you do is mount the tire normally, then when you get to the last few inches you place the tool on the backside of the rim, reach the claw over the top of the tire and with a short pull back towards you the tire slides up and over the rim. And no more pinch flats as the tube doesn’t get caught under the tire bead!

The best part is this tool retails for less than $15! I couldn’t find one locally so I ordered it online. If your local bike shop has one… buy it. If not just pick it up online. This is one tool you won’t be sorry you bought. Plus it’s light enough to just throw in your bag and take with you on the road.

Tip:  Costco Sells Nitrile  Gloves in boxes of 100 for about $10.  These weigh almost nothing.  Take a few with you on the road.  When you need to replace a tire or work on your chain you don’t end up with grease all over your fingers.

The Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack

My Kool Stop Tire Bead Jack

Announcement: Schwalbe Durano Bicycle Tires

Schwalbe Durano Tires

Note: Photos of My Schwalbe Durano Tires Below

This is less of a review and more of a preview as I have not ridden these tires.  I just purchased  the Schwalbe Durano’s to replace my Specialized Fatboys.  I considered the Continental Ultra Gatorskins, the Specialized All Condition II Pro’s, and Michelin WildRun’R Advance.

Why Durano?  Well for starters Schwalbe seems to have a great reputation in the Recumbent World.  I read as many reviews as I could find on 559 Slicks.  Over and over Schwalbe kept coming up.  Continental had only the one option in a lightweight slick with puncture protection.  Unfortunately in the 559 size the Ultra Gator Skins are only available in wire bead.  I read way too many reviews of how hard the Ultra Gator Skins are to mount and how stiff they ride.  The Michelin WildRun’R Advance is new for 2010 so there were virtually no reviews. Michelin also provides very little information on the tire – I suppose they expect you to buy into their Brand Identity.  Plus at this time they appear to only be available in France. And while I’ve had a decent experience with Specialize Tires in the past I’ve never had a set last very long.  They seem to start falling apart around 1,000 miles.  There were plenty of online reviews to support this observation.

So after evaluation this left the Schwalbe Kojak and the Schwalbe Durano. I chose the 559 28 (26x 1 1/8) folding tire because of the weight and claims of durability.  Schwalbe states that in circumstances where the tires are not under load and ridden normally you may get up to 6,500 miles!  (This is stated right on the Schwalbe Site). So I figured if I was going to spend $45 on a tire it might as well last!  Plus the tires are only 260 grams so I can still run liners and be light enough for the style of riding I do. I dread flats as it is such a pain to change flat tube out on the road.  I read some great things about the Kojak, but I wanted to go with a narrower tire without a wire bead at a higher PSI to get the rolling resistance down a bit. The trade off will probably be a bit harsher ride, but my bike is suspended and I have a very thick foam seat cushion so I believe it will work out well for me.  If I had a non-suspended bike I would have bought the Kojak’s.

The only downside to my purchase is that I had to order the Schwalbe Durano tires online and wait about a week for the tires to show up. I visited about a half dozen local bike shops and none of them had Schwalbe.  Everyone was pushing Continental or Specialized.

When my tires arrived they were stamped Made in Indonesia. While Schwalbe is a German Company like most companies they take advantage of low labor rates in Asian Countries.  I have posted a video in the Parts Section about how Schwalbe Tires are made.

My first impression upon taking the tires out of the box are they are manufactred to a very high standard. The Tread itself feels about the same thickness as the Specialized Fatboy’s they replace. The materials in the Durano Tires just feel different, they feel “softer”.  One thing I noticed is that after mouting on my bike and spinning the tires they seem to be very true!  I hope this helps any of you looking for 26″ 559 tires for your recumbent. I’ll probably add a bit more informaiton as I begin to pile up miles!

———————————————– Update —————————————————–

I’ve had a chance to put a few miles on the Duranos now.  In comparison to the Fatboys they don’t ride as smoothly, but it’s pretty close.  I don’t know how much better the ride would be with a 1.35 version.  The added PSI 115/8 Bar doesn’t seem to make them roll any better than the Fatboys. Because of the narrower profile and the higher PSI I had hoped for a little less rolling resistance.

The Duranos  are more “sticky” than the Fatboys and in my opinion grip the road better and corner better. They feel very solid underneath me and I’m not afraid to corner.  I have not tired them on wet pavement as I don’t like to ride in the rain.

As far as speed goes I haven’t really taken a hit per se… seem to ride about the same speed. It’s pretty subjective at this point as there was a lot of wind today on my usual route and as you know when you are riding in wind it seems to be into a headwind both ways!  Actually lots of gusty crosswinds today made it hard for me to get up to my usual speeds.  So while not disappointed with the speed, but I had hoped to pick up maybe 1-2mph.

So should you buy the Schwalbe Durano or the Kojak? That’s a tough one to answer.  In 559 the Kojak are only available in wire bead.  They weigh an additional 35 grams, but I would bet they do roll better. But I doubt the will last nearly as long and they are about the same price.

FYI:  I’m running tire liners in the Duranos right now.  Kind of self defeating one might suggest to run such a light tire with a liner.  I considered the Durano Plus but then I wouldn’t have the option to pull the liner.

It’s 6’s really.  I’d bet the Durano is a great Trike Tire as it is grippy and offers a better than expected ride.

Update 2: I now have about 900 miles on the Durano Tires and they look almost brand new.  The sidewall is supple and the tread hardly worn.  At this same point (900 miles) the sidewalls on the Fatboy Tires were starting to separate and small chunks or holes were forming in places on the tread.  Durano really does appear to be a durable tire!

Schwalbe Bicyle Tires - Durano Folding Tire

Schwalbe Durano Package

Durano Tire Mounted

Schwalbe Durano Tire Mounted on Rim

Tread of Schwalbe Durano Folding Tire

Durano Tread Pattern

Schwalbe Durano Tread Pattern

Schwalbe Durano Tread Pattern Close Up

Parts and Wheels

Where to find Parts & Wheelsets for Your Recumbent

Bicycle Parts

Bicycle Parts

List of Parts and Wheel manufacturers

  • Aero Spoke Wheels – Aerospoke is one of the most recognized and respected names in composite wheels
  • Alex Rims – manufacturer of bicycle rims.
  • Bontrager Wheel Works – They are not built for recumbent bikes, but I ride these on my mountain bike and haven’t needed a truing in 2 years.
  • Dave’s Wheels – aka Dave Thomas’s – custom wheel maker with a reputation among cyclists for quality. Located in Fountain Hills, Arizona.
  • Ecospeed – Portland Oregon based company manufacturers and electric assist motor kit for recumbent bicycles.
  • Head Rests by “Krispy Steve” – Manufacturers many very innovative and high quality head rest solutions primarily for Recumbent Trikes. It may take a while to get one, but it seems worth the wait as the overwhelming response from owners/customers is highly positive. Vashon, Washington USA
    • HED Cycling – Seems like everyone winning races is running these wheel sets.
    • Mavic – Another Rim manufacturer that doesn’t really make recumbent specific rims, but I’ve ridden their mountain bike rims with great success. Good product!
    • Power on Cycling – Dealer specializes in recumbent parts and customizing Rans, Challenge, M5 and easy tour recumbent bicycles. Want to build your own this might be a good start to selecting your components. Site is plain vanilla but fairly detailed. Plant City, Florida
    • Schwalbe Tires – If these are not the best tires you can buy, they are pretty damn close! You should be avle to find Schwalbe tires at quality bicycle dealers worldwide. Schwalbe North America – Victoria, British Columbia Canada.
    • Specialized Bicycles – Yes I know they don’t make recumbent bicycles, but they make some highly durable thorn resistant tires. I was getting flats about every 3rd ride from the thorns here, then I switched to Specialized Armadillos and I’ve had 1 flat in a year and a half!
    • Sugar Wheel Works – Looking for a new wheel set for your Recumbent Bike then Portland Oregon based Sugar Wheel Works should be on your short list. I’d also like to say that my dealings were direct with Jude the owner and she’s very polite, attentive, positive minded and knowledgeable. Seriously if you need quality wheels (Not the same old prepackaged off the shelf junk) then you should take the time to visit Sugar Wheel Works. If you are the kind of person that wouldn’t buy their suit “off the rack” and feel the same way about your bike then Sugar is your Wheel builder for sure. Highly recommended. I don’t say that often about vendors, and I don’t get paid to say it.
    • TerraCycle – USA (Oregon) manufacturer of Recumbent Parts and Accessories. Acquired FastBack Products in late 2007.
    • Topolino Technology – High end wheel set manufacturer specializing in 700C Wheelsets, including Carbon Tubular with Kevlar spokes. These wheels feel great to ride and are featured on specially spec’d Carbent’s.
    • Velocity – Wheels, Rims, and accessories including a line of recumbent wheels in 349, 406, 559, and 700 sizes. Lots of wheel builders build on Velocity Rims. It’s my understanding the Velocity Hubs are OEM Formula Hubs. I tried contacting Velocity direct about building a wheel set via e-mail with no response.
    • Ventisit – Ventilated Recumbent bicycle seat pads – no more sweaty backs in warm riding conditions. Based in Nederland – NOT USA.
    • Windwarp Fairings – Makes Lexan® plastic fairings compatible with a large range of recumbent bikes and trikes.

Video: How Schwalbe Tires are Manufactured

This video shows the manufacturing process of Schwalbe Brand Tires.  I found it quite interesting as I am constantly looking for the “Perfect Tire”.  Aren’t we all?  We want super lightweight tires that grip the road and never flat out… and of course that last for at least 5,000 miles.  I’m yet to find them but I will probably run a set of Kojak 559’s next.  I’ve run GEAX, Specialized Fatboys (Good for the Money), Continental, and others.  I’m hoping my Brand Search Stops with Schwalbe… I guess we’ll find out.

Recumbent Bicycle Tires

Recumbent Bike Tire Selection

Selecting the “right” tire for your recumbent bicycle or trike is essential. Don’t overlook the importance of tires! Tires are your point of contact with the road. The right tire not only helps you roll smoother and faster, but also keeps you from spilling under various weather conditions. Furthermore the right tire will also smooth out your ride giving you a much more enjoyable experience.

There is no one perfect tire… you’ll need to constantly make trade-offs in weight and performance vs durability and puncture protection. Buy the tire that suits you bike and riding style.

I recently upgraded the old Specialized Fatboy’s to Schwalbe Duranos’s as noted in the review on another part of Recumbent Bicycle Source. And while I think I may have dropped a mile or two per hour, I’m also now running tire liners for added convenience as I hate to repair flats on the road. I gave up a little speed for a lot of convenience and puncture protection… and I would do it again!

Below are links to Amazon Reviews where you can see what other people think of a particular tires. And yes Amazon is not a bike shop and there are other places to read reviews of tires, Amazon does have on thing most others do not – they seem to carry everything!

The first link with the DOT is the main link to all tires by that manufacturer, the sub links are to specific models of the tire. Enjoy!

Contiental Bicycle Tires

Continental Sport Contact

Continental Grand Prix

Continental Ultra Gatorskin

Kenda Bicycle Tires

Kenda Kwest

Maxxis Bicycle Tires

Michelin Bicycle Tires

Panaracer Bicycle Tires

Primo Bicycle Tires

Primo Comet

Primo Racer

Schwalbe Bicycle Tires

Schwalbe Big Apple

Schwalbe Durano

Schwalbe Durano Plus

Schwalbe Kojak

Schwalbe Marathon

Schwalbe Marathon Plus

Schwalbe Marathon Racer

Schwalbe Marathon Winter

Schwalbe Marathon Supreme

JensonUSA Pricepoint Tree Fort Bikes Amazon eBikestop Cheapest Bike Parts

Update:  I bought some Avid Brakes from JensonUSA in July – they shipped me used/repackaged brakes and tried to pass them off as new.  That’s just pathetic.  They will never see another dollar from me.

Which Bike Store Has the Cheapest Bike Parts?

Don’t we all really want to know where to buy the parts we want for the best prices? Every time I need a new part or want a new part I do a search of the most popular sites then I do a search on Google Shopping. I want the best price for the parts I’m purchasing because I’m on a budget like most of you. And I’ve purchased from a number of dealers including JensonUSA, Pricepoint, Tree Fort Bikes, Amazon, AE Bike, Nashbar, Performance, Hostel Shoppe, and several others. And yes I even purchase from my local bike shops.

If you are buying one or two low cost items (Tubes, Lube, etc.) you are probably a lot better off just stopping by the local bicycle shop and picking them up. However with Recumbent Bikes they may not always have what you want. You’ll probably pay a little more up front but avoid entirely the cost of shipping and handling, plus if you need to return an item you know where to take it and you can touch and feel what you are buying! In short by buying at the local bike shop you know what you are getting, you know the condition, and you know if there is a problem you can get help. So more power to local bike shops!

However if you are in an area where the local bike shop is not convenient or they simply have prices which are not justified then you go online. For example I recently picked up an XT rear cassette for $75 online that was $110 at my local bike shop. With such a disparity I chose to buy online.

So Who Really Has the Cheapest Bike Parts?

This question can not be answered definitively without some explanation.  What it really comes down to is parts availability, usually shipping costs and taxes.  Let me give you an example.  I recently ordered a number of items from Tree Fort Bikes because the parts total exceeded $125 the point at which they offer free basic shipping.  I chose Tree Fort Bikes because they had a good price on one large ticket item, but also had in stock all the additional items I wanted to purchase (About 7 in total).  The package arrived in good condition, all items were in retail packaging, and there were no mistakes in the order.   Tree Fort Bikes has okay selection… not as wide as some of the others, but to be honest their shipping (Unless you pay for expidited service) is pathetically slow!  I have read of people buying from Chain Reaction Cycles in the UK and having items arrive faster with basic shipping!

While speaking of Chain Reaction Cycles… their prices are all over the place in my view, but once in a while you’ll come across something that is actually much cheaper for USA customers.  And while I’m not sure how they do it… but they do… it’s often really cheap for them to ship to the United States.  In fact the tires I’m looking at purchasing right now are about $20 cheaper than any of the USA Bike Stores.  My only concern is what do I do if I have to return an item?

A note about Amazon.  I sometimes have purchased from Amazon.  I usually will buy if their price is lower because they too are very good at shipping.  The only time Amazon is not such a great deal in my view is when you are dealing with 3rd party vendors you have never heard of… if you have a problem these smaller no name places using Amazon can be very difficult to deal with.

So Who is the Best Overall Store for Bike Parts in My Opinion?

1.  Tree Fort Bikes

2.  Amazon (If it ships direct from Amazon)

3.  Local Bike Shop

4.  Performance

5.  Priceline (Honestly they are pretty limited in selection) but you should check there anyways.

6.  AE Bike – good selection, prices higher than competition

7.  eBikeStop

8. Nashbar – I had some real problems with these guys in the past

9. Jenson USA – that is if you don’t mind paying full retail for used stuff!

If you have a preferred vendor go ahead and tell us in the comments section below.  You’ll have to register to post a comment because every time I leave the comments open to the public without registration I get hammered with spam.